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Prescriptions by GPs

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  • Release date: 14 September 2016
  • Period covered: 2015-16
An annual report including information on prescription items dispensed and net ingredient cost.

Number of prescription items dispensed in Wales - This line chart shows the number of items increasing steadily from 21 million in 1973 to 40 million in 1998-99, followed by a steeper rise until 2010-11; from that year the line flattens to stand at 79 million in 2015-16. It also highlights that free prescriptions were introduced in Wales on 1 April 2007.

Key points

  • Between 2005-06 and 2015-16 the number of prescription items dispensed in Wales increased by 39% from 57.0 to 79.2 million.
  • Over the decade the net ingredient cost of prescription items prescribed by GPs in Wales increased by 5% to £593 million.
  • The number of items per head (registered with a GP) in 2015-16 was 24.8 – up 33% from 18.7 in 2005-06.
  • The percentage of items prescribed generically has been around 80% for the last 10 years.


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